The UK’s i-UG will hold an action-packed conference on Thursday, February 19 at the Mercure Norton Grange Hotel in Rochdale, Lancashire (pictured).
Seminars include a look at the latest version of DB2 Web Query, a presentation on the real-world benefits of Power8 hardware and an intriguing-looking demo of the latest in 3D printing technology.
PowerWire author Steve Bradshaw is also the technical director of i-UG and will present a session on performance analysis. He will show attendees how to quickly and easily identify a performance issue, then go on to show them how they can gauge the effect an upgrade would have on their system’s performance.
Here at PowerWire, we’re a big supporter of i-UG and, indeed, in-person IBM i-related events in general. But if you are reading this and you’ve never actually been to one, what’s in it for you? I put the question to Steve himself.
He said: “In order to be able to answer that simply, let me first explain the ethos behind these events. It is to bring together IT professionals who care about IBM i in a neutral, informal environment and then to discuss how we all use IBM i. We have end-user presentations explaining real-life experiences, we have application demonstrations – with a strict no-sell policy – and, of course, we discuss what’s new and or useful in IBM i itself.”
According to Bradshaw, what a PowerWire reader should get is not only first-hand access to a wealth of experts but an opportunity to have off-the-record conversations with their peers about hardware, the IBM i OS and third-party apps.
“Now, this is way more valuable than it might sound at first,” he said. “Just think, the chances are that someone else in that room will have real-life experience of a problem or application that they are currently engaged with.
“For example, imagine you are just about to sign a P.O. for a £10,000 development tool. On paper it looks great. The demos you had were, of course, flawless and the salesman says that it can do everything except make your coffee. Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to talk frankly and honestly with someone who had actually been using that tool, possibly for years, to check that it was as good as you’ve been told? Or, just as importantly, to be told that they had heard all of the hype and tried the new tool only to find out it was not right for them?”
He also cited the usefulness of mingling with a group of people with whom you can discuss common niggles.
He said: “Maybe you want to know how someone else deals with integrating their Windows and IBM i users and passwords. Maybe you want to know an easy way to print double-sided on that problem laser printer or maybe you just want to know if anyone really thinks it’s worth installing PTFs every six months?”
The way he puts it, those willing to fork out for i-UG’s annual £180 subscription fee get access to such knowledge for less than half a day of an IBM i consultant’s daily rate. And if a paid-up i-UG member can save just half a day of said consultant’s time each year because of their newfound insight, then that pretty much covers the annual membership fee anyway.
What’s the reaction he sees from people who have never been to an i-oriented event before? Are they pleased to have finally found the company of other people who actually know what they are talking about?
Bradshaw said: “Typically, people’s reaction is one of disbelief. This is often because they did not realise that they could get access to so much information in one place from people who were happy to share it for free. Or maybe because they did not realise just how thriving and innovative the IBM i community is in the UK today.
“Regardless of the reason or reaction, what I can honestly say is that I have never, not once, heard anyone say that attending one of our meetings was a waste of time and money. I’m not saying that every session by every speaker will be for them but that is why we cover a wide variety of topics at every meeting.”
February 19’s event is free to all i-UG members and includes breakfast and lunch. For more info and registration, see the i-UG website.